Friday, July 29, 2011

Kelly Rowland on topless VIBE cover: "I'm not trying to sell sex"

ItalicKelly Rowland is control, and she'll do whatever she wants - that includes posing topless on a magazine cover.

Earlier this week, I spoke with the Destiny's Child diva at the release for her third solo album, Here I Am. (The exclusive event also saw the reunion of Destiny's Child - both Michelle Williams and Beyonce attended.)

Of course, Rowland split from Matthew Knowles two years ago and this is her first release "on her own."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Nothing wrong with Be-YAWN-ce

There's no alter ego on this go around for Beyonce.

Unless you want to call her Be-YAWN-ce for her more mellow fourth album, appropriately titled, "4."

So it's not the booty-poppin' album that her fans might have anticipated. Some may listen to this album and, well, yawn because of the lack of party songs.

However, this album offers a slightly grown up 29-year-old singer. And I like it.

The tempo is slower this go around thanks to songs like the Dream-penned ballad "1+1," the powerful rock-inspired "I Care" and the Babyface-penned "Best Thing I Never Had." (that's just to name a few)

Sure, the first single "Run the World (Girls)" didn't top the charts. But does that make it a bad song? I don't think so. It's a solid party track that may not live up to her other popular hits like "Single Ladies" and "Crazy In Love," but it's a legitimate club-banger.

But the album - which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts selling 313,000 copies in its first week - isn't a complete snoozefest.

"Countdown" is a typical uptempo Beyonce song that talks about doing for her "boo." It sounds like it may have been more appropriate for a Destiny's Child album. But it does the job of adding some life to the otherwise sleepy album.

"End of Time" is another party-starter and probably could have had a better run than "Run the World" if it were released first. Her performance of the song - broadcast on the BET awards - proved that it has the potential to be a big hit for Beyonce. Although, it seems like Beyonce isn't too concerned about having a "big hit" these days. It's hard to top "Single Ladies" - which may be the "Thriller" song of her career.

"Love on Top" is a feel good song that sounds like it escaped the late 1980s and could have been performed by Vanessa Williams, Pebbles or Jody Watley for a romantic comedy movie soundtrack. I could see this song riding out as a couple gets married in Central Park and the credits start to roll.

Back to the ballads.

It might be what Beyonce does best, and that's probably why this album is her best yet.

The album kicks off with four consecutive ballads - "1+1," "I Care," "I Miss You" and her newest single, "Best Thing I Never Had."

There's a break for the Andre 3000 and Kanye West "swag" song, "Party," but then we go back to the slow jams with "Rather Die Young" and the powerful ballad "Start Over."

"Cause I rather die young / Than live my life without you / I rather not live at all," she belts out on the chorus of "Rather Die Young."

And the sleepiest song of all is "I Was Here," which is certainly more Celine Dion than Beyonce.

Overall, it's a masterful album that shows Beyonce has grown significantly as an artist who is capable of being more than bootylicious. It's more R&B than pop. More Phil Collins than Rihanna or Lady Gaga.

It's a true R&B album, and for me, that lane works for Beyonce.

It just may not be "4" everyone.